Raising Awareness 1
St. Joseph Hall

Welcome to the Human Rights Studies Program.

The University of Dayton established the nation’s first undergraduate human rights studies program in 1998. More than one hundred students have graduated from the program and pursued careers as human rights advocates and academics or humanitarian professionals in legal, governmental and non-profit sectors.

Housed in the Department of Political Science, the Human Rights Studies Program offers the BA in Human Rights Studies, an integrated pre-professional degree firmly grounded in traditional liberal arts. Students, faculty, and staff participating in the program enter into it guided by their fundamental commitment to respect and promote the dignity of each human person. The degree is intended to produce intellectually adept students who are capable of performing rigorous research and conducting high quality analysis of critical questions in the area of human rights studies. It is equally intended to produce thoughtful and transformational servant-leaders who will apply the knowledge and skills obtained in the program to the contemporary human rights issues and situations both domestically and internationally.

Agents for Change (photo at left): In 2010, State Rep. Teresa Fedor introduced legislation making human trafficking a crime in Ohio; here, Gov. Ted Strickland signs the bill into law, witnessed by Fedor (at table on the left); human trafficking survivor, victims’ advocate and UD alumna Theresa Flores (front row, right); and Professor Mark Ensalaco (back row, second from right). Also in the photo are Human Rights Studies graduate Alex Kreidenweis and Human Rights Studies faculty member Anthony Talbott.

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Our academic program is truly interdisciplinary.

The Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights Studies is intended to produce intellectually adept students who are capable of performing rigorous research and conducting high quality analysis of critical questions in the area of human rights studies. It is equally intended to produce thoughtful and transformational servant-leaders who will apply the knowledge and skills obtained in the program to contemporary human rights issues and situations both domestically and internationally. Through the integration of liberal and pre-professional education, the interdisciplinary program prepares distinctive graduates who intend to pursue advanced study and training in the field of human rights, or careers in human rights advocacy and humanitarian assistance. Those graduates will possess the values, knowledge and skills necessary for effective public service in government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international aid agencies, and non-profit groups in human rights or humanitarian assistance.

The minor in human rights provides students an opportunity to address issues related to human rights from various disciplinary approaches. The universal nature of human rights issues may directly relate to a major, while in other cases will provide an opportunity for broadening one's exposure to these important topics.

Oasis House

Human rights studies and your career.

Based on producing graduates who are capable of performing rigorous research and conducting high quality analysis of critical questions, the degree in Human Rights Studies can lead to careers in service and leadership at the local, regional, national and international level.

What can I do with the major in human rights studies?

Some of the places human rights studies graduates are employed:

  • Arlington Academy of Hope, Uganda
  • The Peace Corps
  • Catholic Social Services Refugee Resettlement
  • U.S. State Legislative Offices
  • Various other non-profits at the local, national and international level

Some of the graduate studies and law programs our graduates have been accepted into:

  • University of Denver (MA and PhD)
  • University of Connecticut (PhD)
  • Columbia University (MA)
  • The New School (MA)
  • Indiana University Law School
  • Georgetown University Law School
  • American University (MA)
  • George Washington University (MA)
  • University of Pittsburgh (MIPA)
Students in Buenos Aires

Participate. Learn. Grow.

Our students have many opportunities to participate in a variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities offered by the program as well as the University. Each in their own distinct way, the programs and opportunities listed at right enhance the learning process and enable inquiry into a broad spectrum of human rights issues. Participation in these programs can serve to further a scholarly understanding of the many humanitarian concerns and needs of today's world.
Fair Trade

Our research touches on many disciplines.

The Human Rights Studies Program draws faculty in from several disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach not only creates a well-rounded learning experience; it also creates a diverse and vibrant research base. The program has organized several international conferences and collaborated with local, regional, national and international agencies, focusing on a variety of human rights issues.

Image at left: Our students attended an event with Congressman Mike Turner, hosted by the Dayton League of Women Voters, to discuss his efforts to pass legislation addressing sexual violence in the US military.

Buenos Aires Program

Get to know us.

The Human Rights Studies Program has a core of faculty who teach and work at the intersection of research and advocacy. Meet our faculty and staff through the links at right.
Consciousness Rising

The Human Rights Center: from dream to reality.

The University of Dayton was a pioneer in human rights education in 1998, establishing the nation’s first undergraduate program in human rights studies. Now, with an international profile and a strong reputation as an intellectual and consulting resource for major human rights organizations, we are now positioned to share these resources with a wider constituency by instituting the University of Dayton Center for Human Rights.

In our vision for this Center for Human Rights, we propose the union of four critical components of social change: knowledge, research, collaboration and action. The links at right provide a summary of our history, our impact, our partnerships, our expertise ... and our ambition for the future.

St. Joseph Hall

How can we help you?

Please feel free to contact us for more information about our programs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Where can you find us?

Human Rights Studies Program
University of Dayton
St. Joseph Hall Room 227
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469-1425

Phone: 937-229-3626
Fax: 937-229-1400

Who are we?

Anthony Talbott
Interim Director of Human Rights Studies Program

Mark Ensalaco
Associate Professor; Director of Human Rights Research

Grant Neeley
Associate Professor; Interim Chair, Department of Political Science; Director of Graduate Academic Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences

Jennifer McManus-Kirk
Administrative Support Staff, Human Rights Studies Program

Jean Poindexter
Administrative Support Staff, Department of Political Science

McGrath Student Fellows Present Human Rights Research at Stander Symposium.

The research of faculty in the McGrath Fellows Program has utilized the efforts of undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them insight into a variety of human rights issues. Several of these McGrath Student Fellows presented their research at the 2013 Brother Joseph W. Stander Symposium, held on April 17, 2013.